“Climate change is a threat to our collective security“, hammered the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the origin of this meeting, his country presiding in February the Security Council.
“I know some think these are just green fads of a few tofu eaters who like to hug trees“, he said provocatively, pointing to the divergent approaches to the question of the 15 members of this body.”I couldn’t disagree more deeply.”
“When are we going to do something if we don’t act now? (…) When masses of people fleeing drought, fires or conflicts to access resources, arrive at our borders?“he asked.
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Shortly after his speech, he had to leave the meeting, which was attended by leaders from India and Mexico, who entered the Security Council in January and progressive on the subject, from Kenya and Niger, on the front lines, but also from Tunisia, Norway and even Ireland.
– “Distraction” –
The UN chief Antonio Guterres strove, in his speech, to make the issues raised tangible: “In Afghanistan, for example, where 40% of workers are linked to agriculture, reduced harvests push people into poverty and food insecurity, making them susceptible to recruitment by armed groups.“, he explained.
But Russia has, on the contrary, questioned the idea that environmental issues are “racine“conflict. To support this, is”a diversion“away from”real causes“said Vassily Nebenzia, Russian ambassador to the UN.
“To impose such a connection systematically would even be dangerous.“, he judged.
Russia “shares the idea that a rapid response to climate change needs to be produced, but this needs to be done through mechanisms where it is professionally handled“, he added, defending an approach differentiated by regions, rather than”overall“.
China, more nuanced, said through Xie Zhenhua, its special envoy for the climate, that the “sustainable development was the key to solving all problems and eliminating the cause of conflicts“.
Most “international climate cooperation must be dealt with within the framework of the UN’s international climate convention, as the main route“, he added.
– “Undeniable link” –
France was directly represented by Emmanuel Macron: “The link between climate and security, while complex, is undeniable“, did he declare.
“Of the twenty countries most affected by conflicts in the world, twelve are also among the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change“, he noted.
He pleaded for the appointment of “a special correspondent for climate security“, just like Germany.
Last year, Berlin had drawn up a draft resolution providing for the creation of a UN envoy post, but under the threat of a veto from the United States, Russia and even China, this text no had not been put to a vote.
“It’s time to put a strong text back on the table and embrace it“, said the head of German diplomacy Heiko Maas on Tuesday.
The assumption of office of the American administration of Joe Biden, with views radically opposed to those defended by Donald Trump, should indeed change the dynamic, according to diplomats.
This session is being held a few days after the formal return of the United States, under the leadership of the Democrat, in the 2015 Paris agreement aimed at limiting global warming.
“The climate crisis is undoubtedly a subject for the Security Council“said John Kerry, US climate change envoy.”No country can solve this crisis alone, it is exactly for this kind of problem that the United Nations was created.“, he argued.
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